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The aim of this study was to evaluate the therapeutic effects of osteopontin neutralization treatment on schistosome-induced liver injury in BALB/C mice. We randomly divided 100 BALB/C mice into groups A, B, C, D and group E. Mice in all groups except group A were abdominally infected with schistosomal cercariae to induce a schistosomal hepatopathological model. Mice in group C, D and group E were respectively administered with praziquantel, praziquantel plus colchicine and praziquantel plus neutralizing osteopontin antibody. We extracted mouse liver tissues at 3 and 9 weeks after the ‘stool-eggs-positive’ day, observed liver histopathological changes by haematoxylin-eosin and Masson trichrome staining and detected the expression of osteopontin, alpha-smooth muscle actin (α-SMA) and transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-β1) by immunohistochemistry, RT-PCR and Western blot. We found that praziquantel plus neutralizing osteopontin antibody treatment significantly decreased the granuloma dimension, the percentage of collagen and the expression of osteopontin, α-SMA and TGF-β1 compared to praziquantel plus colchicine treatment in both the acute and chronic stage of schistosomal liver damage (P<0·05). So we believe that the combined regimen of osteopontin immunoneutralization and anti-helminthic treatment can reduce the granulomatous response and liver fibrosis during the schistosomal hepatopathologic course.
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